On this day in 1778, writer, philosopher and rebel, François-Marie Arouet, or as you may know him, Voltaire, died at the age of 83. Voltaire was one of the greatest writers that France has produced, but his caustic wit and unconventional ideas on religion, ethics and the State often got him into trouble.
In 1716 he was exiled from Paris for writing poems that mocked the French Regent's family. His banishment was ineffective, however, because a year later he produced more poems suggesting that the Regent and his daughter had an incestuous relationship. As a result, he was imprisoned in the Bastille for 11 months.
Voltaire then went to live in England but the French Government continued to pursue him, censoring or suppressing much of his work and ordering some of his books to be burned. In 1734 he made a break from France and moved to Switzerland where he spent much of his later life.
He lived an extravagant life thanks to the French lottery. Voltaire teamed up with mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine and other gamblers, exploiting a loophole in the way the lottery was run so that their syndicate repeatedly won and they all became very rich.
In 1778 he returned to Paris for the first time in nearly 30 years to oversee the production of one of his plays but within a few months he was dead.
As he lay dying, the great French writer noticed that the lamp next to his bed was violently flickering and flaring up. 'What? The flames already?', were said to be the last words he spoke. Earlier, when a priest asked him to renounce Satan he refused, allegedly declaring: 'This is no time to make any more enemies!'
And so it is here I give you this weeks prompt from Voltaire (allegedly :) ).